Reviews

For Temple Grove...

"In Scott Elliott’s novel, “Temple Grove,” the complex beauty of the Olympic Peninsula drips from the pages, all but reaching out with mossy hands to pull the reader in. It’s clear from the first enigmatic chapter, in which we are introduced to a woman named Trace, out hiking (unhappily) in the Olympic National Park with her infant son, that Elliott is a writer of deep compassion. Perhaps more than any book I’ve read set in the Northwest, “Temple Grove” gets the ambiance exactly right. From the clean, slicing cold of mountain air to the experience of watching ferries bump their way into docks to unload passengers, Elliott captures what it’s like to live in a place of such constant contradiction. "

-News of Mill Creek (Washington)

" ...meticulously crafted plot...Elliott, an associate professor of creative writing and English at Whitman College, layers suspense with Greek myth, native legend and personal back stories to create an existentialist puzzle. He offers nuanced observations of character, family and society, lightly seasoned with a Pacific Northwest brand of magical realism."

--Seattle Times

"Part of what I loved about this novel was the perfect setting; The Olympic National Park in Washington State, surely one of the most beautiful places in the world with its rugged Pacific coast, Hoh Rainforest and mountains. Add a cast of sympathetic (and some not so) characters, stir in some Makah traditions and tell the story using beautifully crafted sentences - and there you have one of my favorite books from 2013."

-BOOKTHIRSTY.COM

"Readers of this fine, timely work will find themselves transported to the soggy trails of deep, cathedral forests embodied by the mythical Temple Grove; the perilous, icy edges of glaciers and crevasses, sharp rocks of seemingly unattainable peaks oft seen from a distance; the ruggedly wild shores of Washington that provide a home for coastal Indian tribes."

--Walla Walla Union Bulletin


For Coiled in the Heart...

"A gifted and insightful storyteller, [Elliott] tells a tale of decay of the Old South, and of family, but then goes much further, giving us a thoughtful and entertaining study of the necessary but difficult search for reclamation and redemption....The ways in which Tobia responds to both his family's crumbling legacy and his own crushing burden give the story its relentless forward motion and its haunting complexity. We enter Coiled in the Heart, and it enters us, making us ask ourselves who we are, how we got to be who we are, and how much control we have over what we do or who we become."
-Richmond Times-Dispatch

"Set in a small, contemporary town in Tennessee and littered with quirky characters you’ll not soon forget author Scott Elliott illustrates his story with a masterful use of imagery and language, the genuine Southern-ness of his characters, and the constants of guilt that ring true in every life. His protagonist, Tobia Caldwell, is as simple and as complex as they come. He deals with his part in the death of young Ben the best way he can, through memory, self-imposed mental incarceration and through denying himself the one thing he wants most – Ben’s twin sister, Merritt Wilson. Coiled in the Heart is richly told, chillingly realistic and deep with a resonance of love, family and the weight of the past."
-Emerald Coast

“Coiled in the Heart” is a stunning adventure, frightening and thoughtful, sweet and violent in turn. It is altogether a splendid beginning to what will most certainly be a sparkling career."
-Louisville Village Voice-Tribune

"Evoking the antebellum South, suburban sprawl, mint juleps, vodka martinis, and computer chips, the author creates a rich, haunting story of love, loss, guilt and redemption, with characters who hover in the ghost world between the present and the past. A dark secret from the past runs through the story and will keep you turning the pages." -Bookviews

"Lots of subtleties lend to a subconscious feeling of danger and evil, and the theme of the serpent remains strong throughout. Without purple prose, Elliot deftly portrays southern scenery that leaves lasting images in the reader's mind--a rare and conspicuous talent... This story starts with an interesting, promising set-up but quickly becomes about human relationships and emotion. It is the quietness of this story that kept me reading, the details so fine they were simply there and real....Four out of five stars." -Night Driving

"The prose is exquisite." —Kirkus Reviews

"Richly atmospheric. Elliott shows promise as a solid, assured stylist." —Publishers Weekly

"Scott Elliott's Coiled in the Heart is far too wonderful and self-assured to be a first novel. He writes about nature with the same passion displayed by Henry David Thoreau. He writes about the south and its characters with the mordant cutting eye of Flannery O'Connor. Watch this guy." —Pat Conroy

"Here at last is a deliberately old-fashioned Southern novel—rich in family history and sense of place—that neither condescends to nor takes advantage of its subject. In the pages of Coiled in the Heart we find tattered Tennessee gentry; we find the haunting residue of tragedy; we find the new south inexorably squeezing out the old. Not only does Scott Elliot write gorgeous sentences one after the next, he understands these people and this place. Reminiscent of writers like William Styron, like Robert Penn Warren, while remaining wholly original, Coiled in the Heart marks the emergence of a very real and durable talent." —Michael Knight

"Coiled in the Heart is as rich an homage to the various histories that make up America that you could hope to find. This supremely talented writer has stitched together the myths of the ancient world with those of Gatsby or Faulkner or O'Connor, delivering to his reader a deeply satisfying and wholly original read for the 21st century. Is reparation possible, in the modern world? This ambitious debut novel asks no less of its flawed and affecting hero." —Antonya Nelson

"Scott Elliott is a strong new talent. His novel Coiled in the Heart is vital and vivid."
—Elizabeth Spencer

"In Scott Elliott's fine new novel, place and character come together to create a thoroughly unforgettable story, one that will invade your dreams for many nights to come. Such richly textured writing calls to mind the works of Elizabeth Spencer, Peter Taylor and Robert Penn Warren. Yet Elliott's voice is his own, and with any luck it will speak to us many times in the years to come." —Steve Yarbrough




Selected Work

Second Novel
"... layers suspense with Greek myth, native legend, and personal back stories to create an existentialist puzzle.[The novel] offers nuanced observations of character, family and society, lightly seasoned with a Pacific Northwest brand of magical realism." -Seattle Times
First Novel
"In Scott Elliott's fine new novel, place and character come together to create a thoroughly unforgettable story, one that will invade your dreams for many nights to come.”
--Steve Yarbrough
Short Stories